The United States State Department has issued advisories to American tourists traveling to Europe this summer, especially during the European Soccer Championships in France from June 10 to July 10.
To add to the scare, Ukrainian officials released the news today that a Frenchman was captured with a large arsenal of weapons, which he reportedly planned to use to attack a mosque, a synagogue, and French government offices. France was already on a high state of emergency.
I land in Paris on July 4. Am I scared? Of course not. I come from Arizona, and I think my chances of being shot to death in Arizona any day of the week are much higher than my chances of being killed in Paris. If the State Department issued travel warnings for the United States, the State of Arizona would be high up on the list, although perhaps below the City of Chicago and certainly way below Washington, DC. In 2010, Arizona had a murder rate of 5.5 per 100,000. The only non-southern states with a higher murder rate were our neighbors Nevada and New Mexico. I couldn’t find the 2010 murder rate for France, but in 2008 it was 1.31 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
Of course, I will stay away from large groups of people as much as possible. I won’t be visiting any soccer stadiums or popular sports bars. I will be using public transportation, however, although I expect to do most of my sightseeing in Paris on foot. As much as possible, I will try to avoid public drunkenness.
What about you? Should you allow the State Department warnings to stop you from visiting France this summer? I certainly hope so. Those transatlantic flights are much more comfortable in a half-empty plane, especially if you’re a poor slob like me jammed into a seat in economy class. The more people who are scared off, the more pleasant my vacation in France will be.
Incidentally, I’ll be blogging the trip daily on this site. Maybe I’ll get lucky, and someone who reads the blog will buy one of my books, advertised in the left sidebar of this blog.